In Restless Dreams by Wren Handman

In restless dreams


In Restless Dreams
by Wren Handman

Young adult/Fantasy

295 Pages

Published by Wandering Roots Press (7th September 2016)

Purchase from | Bookshop.org | Booktopia * | Fishpond AU* | Dymocks | Book Depository* | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, The Parliament House, and the author via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 2.75

Sylvia is having a terrible night, she never thought that her new boyfriend would dump her at a huge party, just so he could go and grind on another girl. What Sylvia doesn’t realise is, this will be the LEAST of her problems. After her mother’s attempted suicide, Sylvia and her brother end up moving to New York to live with their Father, while their Mother enters a facility to help her recover. Being in a massive city, living in a huge mansion, and having more allowance than any teenager could know what to do with sounds brilliant. Except what comes with that is having to try and fit in and make more friends than enemies at a prestigious prep school all the while realising that she is the Phantasma and the Unseelie and Seelie courts want nothing more than to get their hands on her. Not knowing which court to believe, Sylvia tries to be pragmatic about it, ending up in more trouble than she bargained for. Will she be able to survive her new found Phantasma status and her new high school all at the same time?

This book is a tough one. I feel kinda torn about it. The premise was incredibly interesting and I was looking forward to diving into this world and seeing how it all played out. And I’m not too sure what to think about what I’ve read…

The first half of the story follows Sylvia as she comes home from a party and finds her Mother passed out on the kitchen floor, seemingly having attempted to overdose on medication. It moves on to the introduction of Sylvia’s father and then their move to New York so that her mum can enter a facility that will help her recover from her attempted suicide. The first half of this story had serious bully academy vibes going for it. It’s a prep school for the rich and fabulous that Sylvia is enrolled into. While her and her brother’s lives were normal when they lived with their mum, it changes to anything BUT normal when they move in with their dad. He’s wealthy and lives in a mansion and they both now get an exuberant allowance a week and are told to buy mobile phones and take the private car or taxis everywhere. The people at Sylvia’s school are the epitome of born with a silver spoon in their mouth. and on her first day, Sylvia upsets one of the stereotypical Queens Bee’s and then spends the rest of her time trying not to piss anyone else. Of course the hot and popular mean guy takes an interest in her because that’s just what happens yeah? All I’m saying is, it came of no surprise when I read it. So the first half of the book comes across super contemporary with some chapters thrown in that are written from a stranger’s perspective from the shadows, and we are given glimpses of warring courts and the mention of dreamers and Phantasmas. Then all of a sudden, a party happens and there’s spiking happening and our protagonist can see the fae. This is where the book takes a turn for the more fantastical. We meet two main characters, one from each court, who end up pleading their cases and attempting to get Sylvia on their side. Then she ends up in Faerie and all this stuff happens, and I’m not going to go into it because you didn’t come here to read a recitation of the book. After that ramble, let me get back on track. What I’m trying to get at here is, this book felt like two books that were half written and mashed together into a franken-book that I’m just not too sure how I felt about?

Both halves had awesome ideas and the beginnings of some great stuff. I just feel like the book felt very divided, one minute I’m reading a YA bully book and the next I’m reading a fantasy story about the Fae courts. It just didn’t combine too well. I don’t quite understand the whole point of the first half of the book to be honest. All these scenarios and characters didn’t really have much of a point to them, it’s as though the author wasn’t too sure how to start the story so just went with a basic idea. Even the attempted suicide felt like it was just used to create word count, it didn’t have a purpose and after half way through, we don’t even know what happened to her mum. I’m not sure if there is meant to be a follow up book to this, but I definitely feel like there should be because I feel like none of my questions were answered by the end. What was the point of emphasising the struggles that Sylvia was having? Yes, there is mention at one point about a character not wanting to stay somewhere and I guess that could be used a driving point, but it just felt very superficial. The whole thing felt very superficial if I’m honest.

There were so many great ideas here and I just feel like the book was rushed WAY too much. This could have been fleshed out to a duology at least. We barely got any lore about the courts and their war, there just wasn’t a whole lot of substance here and it made me really sad because the general idea of this story is great.

I also really enjoyed the characters we met too, it felt like there was so much more room needed for all of these characters to reach their full potential and be fleshed out into three dimensional characters that it makes me sad at how the story didn’t really touch on things enough. One thing I absolutely LOVED and made me all giddy inside was that one character is singing at one point in the book, and the song he is singing is by a singer called LP and it’s called Lost On You; it made me super excited because LP is still a relatively unknown musician, at least here in Australia, as far as I know, so to see her lyrics in a book just made me really happy, because she seriously is underrated and if you haven’t heard her you should definitely check her out, the woman has range, let me tell you.

So while the story was okay and I did enjoy it for the most part, I feel like it let itself down by not being allowed to be fleshed out more and given the time and length it deserved. I did enjoy both halves of this story, I just don’t know if they worked too well mushed together how they were without a longer page count…or an extra book, to help give the story a bit more substance and some closure for the stuff the happened, because there’s basically no closure at all. If there does happen to be a follow up book to this in the future, you best believe I will be checking it out, because I can’t handle unanswered questions.

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